Book Reviews, Fiction

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd | Book Review

I’m all about trying out new authors and expanding my reading horizons, BUT I also love having my go-to authors, where I know each book I read will be (and is!) simply fabulous, entertaining, and always added to the bookshelf. Sandra Byrd is one such author and her latest, once again, did not disappoint.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures brings about a fascinating piece of history – the wealthy and their love and obsession with artifacts. I found it fascinating that so much of history was stored in houses and mansions of the rich. I loved how Byrd brought that to life and how that played out in society.

Plus Byrd knows how to write a romantic thread – never over the top, but always oh so fabulous. I definitely recommend adding this to your list, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Who is one of your go-to authors?

(Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

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Book Reviews, Nonfiction

The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional by Sandra Byrd | Book Review

Why is it pretty much November? It was about 37 seconds ago that we were ringing in 2017. I need to know scientifically how this year went by so fast :). Outside of my time rushing woes, this time of year, I like to start thinking about reading plans and devos for 2018. If y’all are like me and thinking for yourself or Christmas gifts, I definitely recommend this latest devo from Sandra Byrd!

When was the last time you took a break to experience God’s love? To experience something is to live it, to encounter it, to understand it, to explore with our hearts, minds, and souls as well as with the five physical senses and our God-given spiritual ones. Every action we do with and for God, every good day and bad day, we walk hand-in-hand with God, experiencing Him.

Experiencing God’s love takes time. Love unfurls its blossoms in our lives when we concentrate all of our senses on the small gifts we pass by every day. Time slows, and we finally get to hear God’s beautiful background hum to our lives.

The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional helps you intentionally carve out those moments in your day to savor God and His love for you.

After going through several of the devotionals, I decided to start using it now, instead of waiting until Jan 1. Byrd’s devotional style and stories are relatable and her writing style engaging. Not only that, but I was truly encouraged by the truths she shared and the verses highlighted stuck with me throughout the day. Definitely what my hope is with any devotional!

If you’re looking for something daily to draw you closer to Jesus, I highly recommend this one!

(Thank you to Tyndale for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Changing the World, Travel Adventures

Under Our Skin Forum | A Recap

Last week I was in Tampa, FL (who quickly reminded me that I’m cool without humidity) for the Under Our Skin Forum. Based off of Benjamin Watson’s book of the same name and put on by Tyndale (excellent job friends!), it was a night with big names, but all together for a bigger purpose. As you can imagine, it’s a hard topic, but everyone shared openly and honestly and what an encouraging night.

I left the night filled with hope. These past weeks (months really) have grieved my soul, but while it won’t be an easy road and battle, our hope is in Jesus and His power to change lives. And that gives me hope. To keep fighting for justice and to keep shinning light in the darkness.

The Church, this is our time. We can make an impact on culture and show the way unity looks. We don’t have to pick sides and corners, as Benjamin pointed out, we can be in the middle. We can live in the tension of both sides. Things don’t have to be either/or in what grieves us, what we support, etc. We can support things on each side. More importantly, it needs to be that way.

There were so many excellent points, wisdom and thoughts shared. I’m thankful for Twitter, so I could stalk what other people posted since I didn’t take notes. Here’s a few quotes:

“In so many ways it seems like the American Church has slowly white-washed the Gospel. Case in point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nativity scene around Christmas where Mary isn’t a Caucasian woman with silky brown hair. There are going to be an incredible number of Jesus-worshipping, faith-filled individuals who are going to be SHOCKED when they step into the Kingdom of Heaven and realize the man seated at the right hand of God the Father is a homeless middle eastern refugee. The one we worship is a man of color. The Gospel is a rich narrative of color, race, social class, ages, and demographics invited into the same story and redeemed fully at the same cross. Our commissioning is to bring Heaven to Earth in our time here, and we can’t effectively do that if we don’t understand that Heaven is a deeply colorful, language-saturated, diverse and beautiful place where we all stand before the same King as equal creatures made in His image and unified in His grace.” Mo Isom

“If one member suffers, every single members suffers…we see our country right now, we see the pain going on, whether that’s particular demographic, a particular place. If you wake up with a splitting headache or if you’ve ever slammed your finger in a door, the first thing your body does, your physical body, is it rallies to that point of pain. It doesn’t pontificate, it doesn’t rationalize, it doesn’t say, I’m waiting for more facts. It simply says, I’m going to respond. When we weep with those who weep, I think that’s a sign of a highly functioning body. We’re spending too much time rationalizing. It’s Jesus weeping at the tomb.” Ben Sciacca

“Lord help me chose the harder right, not the easier wrong.” West Point Cadet Prayer

“The game plan for racism is in Bible- James 2:14. We need to break the huddle and run the play.” James Brown

“Just do what the Lord says to do, it’s simple, but it’s not always easy.” Tony Dungy

“Christ in you can destroy both the myth of superiority & the myth of inferiority.” Benjamin Watson

There’s so much more and the video is available to watch, if you want to find out more. Just go here.

Also, here’s a list of the panel, if you want to follow them.
Benjamin Watson
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
James Brown
Website | Facebook | Twitter
J. Kevin Butcher
WebsiteTwitter
Tony Dungy
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Charlie Strong
Warrick Dunn
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Mo Isom
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Ben Sciacca
Website | Twitter
Danny Wuerffel
Website | Twitter | Instagram
Sage Steele (Moderator)
Twitter | Instagram

Coach!

With Benjamin Watson (and yes, I’m still sad he doesn’t play for the Saints)
If y’all don’t know Mo Isom, change that quickly!
Unity is possible internet! Warrick Dunn played for the Falcons (and Bucs) and is part owner of the Falcons. Did I mention my loyalties lie with the Saints? OF COURSE I DID. 🙂
Bookish Radness

Book Blogging Programs | Blogger Resources

I’ve talked a little bit about book blogging review programs in the past, but since then, I’ve expanded my horizons :). After chatting over SkiWees Book Corner about it (if you missed the show, you can catch it here!), I thought it would be fun and helpful to share the ones I’m a part of and hear from y’all about some of your favorites. So let’s dive on in!

Blogging for Books

This book blogging site for the Crown Publishing Group (in the Christian Fiction world: WaterBrook Multnomah Fiction) was recently revamped and is AH-Mazing. The options people. The options! Cook books, Christian fiction, fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, crafts…seriously… all the books! They aren’t lying when they say over two million books.

I just started with them, but my first book is The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton, so I’m not complaining. I look forward to reading many more books for this site!

Bethany House Blogger Review Program

I’m a huge fan of Bethany releases. So many of my favorite authors publish books through them, so I always look forward to the monthly emails (I know when they come out each month and trust me….I’m ready to request!)! I’m on the list for fiction and non-fiction, you know to keep my options fresh.

There’s a handful of options each month to choose from and you only get to pick one (which is soooo hard sometimes!). You also have the option of e-book or hard copy. I’m so glad to be a part of this program. It’s great.

Litfuse Publicity

I’m so glad this publicity firm exists. They are so much fun to work with and make it so easy to promote and be part of book tours. When I see an email from them, I know something awesome awaits!

They really do make it easy. They send you the book (hard copy or e-book), send you all the graphics and codes you need for your post and there’s always awesome contests to enter. I still have hope that one day I’ll win one.

Tyndale Blog Network

I haven’t reviewed a ton for Tyndale yet, but the ones I have, I’ve really enjoyed. Jessica Dotta’s novels are published through them, so that’s all the evidence needed to sign up. Each month they send out the new releases and you can request one from the list (although now you can request two!).

They have plenty of options for fiction and non-fiction, so there’s lots of variety as well.

BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze)

This is the site for Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and Westbow Press E-Books. I love the variety. Love it! From non-fiction, fiction, children’s books, devotionals and bibles, there’s plenty to choose from. The two I have right now are a photographer’s memoir and a book written by Dr. King’s niece. I’m really excited about them! They have awesome fiction options as well and you have the option for applying to receive more than one at a time.

Another plus for BookLook is they are available beyond the month of release (same as Blogging for Books).

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Moody Blogger Review Program

Moody Publishers has a fantastic history and continue to produce Gospel-centered books and resources. Their fiction wing, River North Fiction, has published some of my favorite authors, including Tessa Afshar (biblical fiction) and Jocelyn Green (Civil War history fiction), so I’m a fan.

They have pages and pages of options to choose from, not just new releases, so the choices are endless. Once you review one, you can go back and simply request another one. Done.

Revell Reads Blog Tour Program

This program is a lot like Bethany’s program (they’re under the umbrella of Baker Publishing), so you can’t expect much of the same! The one difference is they request the reviews to be posted between specific dates (since it’s a tour). I’m also on the fiction and non-fiction lists, so like the others, it’s always fun seeing the email pop up in my inbox.

B&H Publishing

I’m rather new to this one as well, but it’s been a pleasant experience thus far. They have a site with all the options available for reviewing. I’ve also been able to email them requests too. While they send out emails of new and available books to choose from, the website site also has past options available too.

NetGalley

I haven’t done too much with NetGalley, besides the times I choose to get the e-book from one of the other publishers. I learned recently you can get auto approved for certain publishers, so when you request it, you automatically get it. There’s ridiculous amounts of options and you’ll never be in need of more books. It’s only e-books though, so if you’re anti e-reader, then you won’t like this one ;). With so many other programs, I’m not sure when I’ll dive more into this one, but I do like being a member!

What programs are you a part of? Any specific ones you really like?